HMS Warspite delivers Victoria’s leading surgeon

Plaque 65 HMS Warspite

Plaque 65 HMS Warspite

HMS Warspite, about 1885, with her original 2 brig masts and with sailing rig removed and single military mast. Wikimedia Commons

HMS Warspite, about 1885, with her original 2 brig masts and with sailing rig removed and single military mast. Wikimedia Commons

First-class armoured Imperieuse-class cruiser HMS Warspite was launched on 29 January 1884 from Chatham Dockyard. Commissioned in 1886, her scantlings were 315’ x 62’ x 26’9” with 10” of belt armour.
She was propelled to a maximum speed of 16.75 knots by two Shaft Penn engines and carried a compliment of 555. Her armament consisted of 4 × 9.2” breech-loading Mk III guns, 6 × BL 6” breech-loading guns, and 6 torpedo tubes. She displaced 8,400 tons.

Service history

HMS Warspite served as flagship on the Pacific Station between 1890 and 1893, then as a port guard ship at Queenstown until 1896. From 1896 thorugh 1902 she again served as the flagship on the Pacific Station. Captain Thomas Philip Walker was given command in March 1899, when Rear-Admiral Henry Palliser was Commander-in-Chief of the station. In June 1899 she became the flagship of Rear-Admiral Lewis Beaumont, and from late 1900 she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Andrew Bickford, with Captain Colin Richard Keppel as flag captain in command of the ship. In late March 1902, Rear-Admiral Bickford transferred his flag to the newly arrived HMS Grafton. Warspite returned home under the command of Captain John Locke Marx, arriving at Plymouth on 28 May 1902. She was paid off at Chatham on 1 July, and placed in the D Division of the Dockyard reserve for emergency service.

Warspite was sold to Thomas W. Ward of Preston, England in 1904, prior to the 1905 dissolution of the British Pacific Station Squadron in Esquimalt. She arrived on the River Mersey later that year, then steamed to Preston where she was broken.

Dr. Oswald Meredith Jones (1863 – 1918)

Dr. Jones and family

Dr. Jones and family City of Victoria Archives

Dr. Jones was born at Llandilo, Wales and educated at the London Hospital. In August, 1889, he entered the Royal Naval Medical Service and was appointed Surgeon to HMS Warspite. He later settled in Victoria, acquiring a reputation as the leading surgeon in the Colony and along the Pacific Coast. He served on the Canadian Council, an Examiner in Surgery, as President of the British Columbian College of Physicians and Surgeons, and on the Military Pensions Commission as Government Surgeon for Invalid Soldiers.

Meredith practised at 711 Fort Street, Victoria, and at the time of his death was Visiting Physician to the Provincial Royal Jubilee Hospital and Surgeon for Invalid Soldiers. After a residing in Victoria for twenty-seven years, he died in harness in Victoria on April 3rd, 1918.